Lincoln Center Invites Arts Professionals For Year-Long Programming Exploring Radical Welcoming

June 23, 2021

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announces an expansion of its Lincoln Center Activate initiative.

Offering arts professionals in the education and community engagement fields intensive, creative, and free professional development and explorations to spark change across the arts industry and beyond.

For the first time, Activate will focus its programming around a single topic: How do we achieve radical welcoming that will help us rebuild and reconnect? How do we create spaces that foster belonging?

A global network of thousands of arts professionals from more than 30 countries, Activate was established in 2020 as a way of connecting and building community amongst educators, artists, teaching artists, and arts leaders during the ever-changing challenges of the pandemic.

Now, Activate is expanding into robust year-round explorations and convenings, beginning with a week-long series of virtual and in-person events, July 12-16, 2021.

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All events are free and registration is available at

“We often turn to artists and educators in times of crisis, to help guide, comfort, and inspire,” said Henry Timms, President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “As we work to chart a new and more equitable way forward, the arts must play a central role. We’re so proud of the network we’re building and the learnings we can share with one another and the world as we work to come back better and more inclusively.”

“The practice of putting extraordinary effort and emphasis on making people feel welcome, on being open to new ideas and fresh collaborations, is our focus for Activate this year,” said Jean E. Taylor, Assistant Director of Education at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “For the arts, in particular, we know that there can be many barriers to participation. Some of these are practical, but some may be less clear. We must hold this consciousness in our commitment, find the roots that will allow us to truly achieve belonging, and do so in concert with our extraordinary network of teachers and learners.”

Building upon a spring program in which Anna Deavere Smith and Dr. Chris Emdin explored a reimagining of education and the arts in shaping futures, this summer’s Activate series offers five days of workshops led by Dr. Emdin, the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, New York Library for the Performing Arts, artist Andrea Miller, among others.

Activate’s first in-person artistic offering will be part of Restart Stages, Lincoln Center’s outdoor performing arts center championing the city’s cultural and economic revival.

Make a Joyful Noize, a multimedia universe created by Soul Science Lab that blends music, film, interviews, spoken word, and dance to capture the visceral, contagious, and unapologetic energy of black joy, will have its world premiere performance on July 15, 2021, at 8 pm.

In addition, Dr. Emdin will collaborate with a team of technical experts on the realization of a new classroom design that integrates tenets of radical welcoming into the learning setting.

Utilizing Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theatre, the team will build a prototype classroom environment that extends Dr. Emdin’s extensive research in this field into the physical space—modeling, testing, and shaping how various elements can help teachers and learners connect more meaningfully post-pandemic.

The prototype will be realized throughout the summer, and is an outgrowth of Dr. Emdin’s work with Lincoln Center’s new R&D Lab for the arts, The Collider.

As Activate progresses beyond the July series, its explorations of radical welcoming will be woven throughout additional initiatives across the Lincoln Center campus and beyond—including a fall edition of Lincoln Center’s groundbreaking Big Umbrella Festival; Middle School Arts Audition Bootcamp, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education; as the U.S. hub for the International Teaching Artist Collaborative (ITAC); and multi-disciplinary programming across the Lincoln Center campus.

Since the pandemic began, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has driven efforts to bring the power of the arts to New Yorkers outdoors and digitally—from Love From Lincoln Center concerts for individual essential workers to works of art that elevate the voices and lived experiences of people of color in America, such as Carrie Mae Weems’ installation Resist COVID/Take 6!, Davóne Tines’ Vigil, and digital commissions like The Baptism by Carl Hancock Rux.

International collaborations with the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens (SNFCC) will bring new approaches to cultural engagement in both cities.

These are just the beginning of a reorientation towards prioritizing openness, access, and inclusive excellence—elevating talent from every corner of the globe and fostering a sense of radical welcome on the campus. Currently, Lincoln Center is spearheading Restart Stages, a sweeping initiative that creates an outdoor performing arts center to help kickstart the performing arts sector and contribute to the revival of New York City.

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